If we're being realistic, not every band that comes out of Phoenix is really worthy to be classified with what Emma Pew and crew do on a show-by-show basis.
The lead singer of Black Carl and her four-piece backing band obliterated Crescent Ballroom
last night as they celebrated the release The Fool
- the fourth and final installment of their "record club"
devoted to releasing three EPs in less than a year.
Black Carl superfans clutched their vinyl and sang their hearts out to the band's long list of cult hits after seeing openers Iamwe, Wizards of Time and Gospel Claws as sort of an indie appetizer to BC's blues-rock cocktail.
But if you planned on having breathing space last night, you probably found that you didn't quite have room for you and your oxygen tank. Gospel Claws' laid back performance - complete with offbeat (and sometimes just ... off) banter - scattered the crowd from the smoking patio to the bar. But with the first belt of Pew's powerhouse vocals, the place was packed to the brim with the sort of Black Carl fans that shake their curly hair in your face. They just can't help that the Soul-inspired beats caught their sway. Then, they shout each lyric of "Hussy" right back at Pew. They're exactly the sort of fans you'd want as a local band, and they were exactly the sort of fans you couldn't escape last night.
Even the band remarked that they were glad to be on stage with some breathing space.
It's a good thing, because Pew's voice has never sounded better. Yes, she's always had quite a bit of gusto behind her tiny frame, but last night's performance could saw raw power combined with true stage presence. The crowd was feeding her energy. These last few months of incessant writing, recording and performing have done the band some good, and from the looks of last night, they're having a blast doing it.
It has to be said, or at least hoped - After this year, Black Carl might not be our town's well-kept secret. In the last month, the band has made their way to San Diego, Santa Monica and Salt Lake City. Plus, they skipped town for San Francisco in September. Thinking unselfishly, it's the best thing we can hope for the band. (But, you know, it's really awesome to see them in an intimate setting.)
Last Night: Iamwe, Wizards of Time, Gospel Claws and Black Carl at Crescent Ballroom on January 7.
Better than: Any other plans you had last night. Seriously.
Random detail: A staggering number of Black Carl fans look like Tobias Fünke.
Personal bias: I have a girl crush on Emma Pew. There, I said it.
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